De Allende, who will join forces with his Rugby World Cup-winning centre partner Lukhanyo Am in the midfield when the business end of the Castle Lager Lions Series kicks off this weekend, expected a challenging outing against the tourists, but he said they were looking forward to it.

For De Allende and some of his team-mates, Saturday’s outing – which kicks off at 18h00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport – will mark the first time they run out in the green and gold jersey since the Rugby World Cup final in Japan in 2019, but he had no doubt they would be ready.

“Obviously we haven’t played together since the World Cup, but our relationships on and off the field are very good,” said the hard-running centre.

“It is great that there is still consistency in the squad. I think it makes a massive difference, but it also allows us to be ourselves and fit in naturally.”

De Allende spoke highly of the British & Irish Lions centres and said no matter which combination coach Warren Gatland selected, they had to be ready for a tough onslaught. On Wednesday, the tourists revealed that Robbie Henshaw and Elliot Daly will patrol the midfield.

“All of them are world class players and they all play Test rugby, so it doesn’t matter who we face,” said De Allende.

“I am looking forward to playing against their centres, but also facing the British & Irish Lions.”

With De Allende plying his trade at Irish club Munster, he is familiar with the European style of play, and said it certainly helped as the Boks prepare to face the best players in the northern hemisphere.

“Personally, it has been a good experience to play in Europe,” he said.

“There are several different competitions in Europe and a lot of the guys are playing for the British & Irish Lions, so it’s good to get a taste against them.

“That said, it doesn’t mean it will change the way we want to play rugby. We’ll still stick to our structures and strengths.”

De Allende was pleased with his progress after recovering from a freak accident in which he suffered burns to his leg shortly before travelling to South Africa to join the team.

“It happened, and I’m just grateful that it wasn’t worse – I’m very grateful that I got through some good game minutes over the past week,” he said.

“It was tough to play two games in a few days’ time, which I haven’t done in quite a while, but it was good.

“Obviously Saturday’s game (against the Vodacom Bulls, which the SA ‘A’ team lost 17-14) was quite tough emotionally afterwards, but I think it was a good lesson for us.

“Not just losing, but also to get through two physical battles in one week, so I’m glad that we didn’t have any serious injuries.

“I’m feeling a lot better this week and I’m happy with where I am at the moment, and just to be playing rugby again.”

With the British & Irish Lions team posing a threat all around, De Allende admitted that strong defence would be vital as they look to get their campaign off to an encouraging start.

“Once the pressure is on and you are on the back foot you have to put up your hand and work as hard as you can, and for us we will always work that hard,” he said.

“We are going to make mistakes and do things wrong on the field, but we want to work for one another, and we want to leave everything on the field and do our best.”